By Rachel Candelora
I return to the Wednesday tipping column this week after an amazing holiday in Florida, where it was 28 degrees and sunny every day.
I am not ashamed to admit that on a seven-day holiday I went racing five times – four at Tampa Bay Downs and once at the local dog track Derby Lane.
The highlight of the trip was seeing Breeders’ Cup Champion World Approval making his seasonal reappearance in the Tampa Bay Stakes and to actually see the great horse in person.
Along with his winning comeback there was a very competitive Kentucky Derby Trial with the Sam F. Davis Stakes, which saw Mark Casse’s Flameaway throw his hat into the Kentucky Derby ring – although the horse I would take out of that race would be the Todd Pletcher-trained Vino Rosso, who was a fast finishing third and will be getting blinkers for his next start.
Sticking on the international front the three-day H.H. The Emir’s Sword meeting kicks off in Qatar on Thursday, a meeting that has been developing its international presence and this year is no exception.
There are seven representatives from the UK, including the speedballs Caspian Prince, Final Venture, Gulliver, and Intisaab, Roger Teal’s smart Tip Two Win is looking to win a second straight victory in Doha, and Elbereth and Chemical Charge are carrying the flag in the big thoroughbred race The H.H. Emir’s Trophy.
In addition to the international equine stars, which also include the veteran Irish runner Gordon Lord Byron, Oisin Murphy, David Probert, Andrea Atzeni, Martin Harley, Paul Mulrennan, Harry Bentley, and Ben Curtis are all having a fun day away.
Add into the mix Christophe Soumillon and Frankie Dettori, who has picked up a spare ride on the American invader Money Multipler, and you have the ingredients for a fantastic day of racing on Saturday.
But first a solid day on Wednesday, which stages two Fast Track Qualifier for All-Weather Finals day along with a good card at Newcastle.
This son of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame, who was bred by Wesley Ward’s Ice Wine Stables, was much improved at Chelmsford when he broke his maiden on his second lifetime start. The improvement derived from stepping up to 10f and getting blinkers.
That day he showed enough gate speed to get a handy position from an outside stall, which he gets again, and while he is carrying the penalty for his success he has proven that 1m2f distance is well suited to him.
This fiercely competitive 7f handicap looks to be a Lincoln/Spring Cup Trial to keep an eye on for next month’s turf opener at Doncaster.
Therefore Holiday Magic looks a nice price play at 20-1 as he is a proper All-Weather and 7f specialist, who appears to be here for this race as a specific target, rather than something later on in the season.
Mick Easterby's charge has not won since getting up the hat-trick of wins last winter but he has run some very good races in the interim. He also has a solid record at Newcastle, with two runners-up efforts and two fourths from just four starts (all in competitive, big field handicaps).
Also Holiday Magic will break from stall six and likes to go forward in his races, which will suit as the other front-running speed in the race is breaking from both the wings.
He gets the services of 7lb claimer Harrison Shaw, who so far in 2018 has won six races, five of them at Newcastle. He looks a solid each-way bet.
The feature race on the Newcastle card in a 5f Conditions race for three-year-olds that is the final Fast Track Qualifier for the three-year-old contest on All-Weather Finals Day.
Corinthia Knight is coming into this race off the back of a win in a Kempton 6f Fast Track Qualifier, beating Danzan who has come out and won since.
Trainer Archie Watson, whose horses are absolutely flying this winter and is currently tied with John Gosden at the top of the All-Weather Trainer’s Championship, is bullish about his charge’s chance, especially as he is dropping back down to the minimum trip over which Corinthia Knight has won three times.
Last time out this son of Diamond Jubilee Stakes winner Society Rock showed a new dimension by rating behind the leaders, a tactic which could suit well from the outside draw in a race in which the track record is looking vulnerable.
I love novice races in which there is a winner who is carrying the smaller penalty due to winning an Auction Maiden/Novice as these horses tend to double up more times than those horses carrying the full penalties.
In this race Casey Jones fits that bill, having to carry only a 3lb penalty for his debut victory at the track at the beginning of the month.
That was an interesting race to watch, as he was figuring out the racing game throughout the contest and once switched into the clear he really upped the revs and ran on.
He will definitely come on for this run, both mentally and physically, and the step up to 1m today should suit on pedigree.
Trainer John Gosden has found an easier assignment with a short field, and while the newcomers from the Hugo Palmer and David Simcock yards are interesting, the experience that Casey Jones already has under his belt will see him go very well.
Rachel Candelora's Wednesday tips:
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